On Thursday night, a slew of well-dressed publishing types flooded into a cavernous space in Manhattan's SoHo neighborhood for the opening celebration of 2007's Wired Store. For the past few years, the tech-focused magazine has created a "pop-up store" to feature the gadgets that it wants to highlight this holiday season.
And like any party, there was an open bar. Last year's Wired Store party had featured booze from Budweiser and Yellow Tail. This year, Wired parent company Conde Nast had stepped it up a notch with drink selections courtesy of Patron tequila--including a mojito bar that was consistently mobbed all night.
But the real attractions were the gadgets, which visitors can order by hitting up a computer kiosk inside the store. On display were digital photo frames, satellite radio consoles, solar-powered messenger bags, HDTVs, robots, and thousand-dollar headphones. There were also talking barbecue thermometers, the cute One Laptop Per Child computer, a "Darth Vader Learning Laptop," and a $13,450 "water bobsleigh" designed in Germany.
And no "hot gadgets for the holidays" list would be complete without a mention of either or both Red Octane's Guitar Hero III and MTV's Rock Band video games. At the Wired Store, both were on display and fired up for test runs. But one party guest I was talking to thought that Guitar Hero had passed its prime ahead of the holiday season.
"I don't know," he said to me. "I think Guitar Hero totally jumped the shark on Wednesday night. Did you see it was all over Gossip Girl? That's when you know it's totally over."
"Yeah, um, I watch Gossip Girl," he added, embarrassed.